Devon Woodlands To Provide Green Heat For Crocodile Swamp
Devon's traditional forestry industry is about to branch out in a new direction - supplying an environmentally friendly fuel to heat a brand new home for crocodiles, turtles and giant snakes.
Devon landowner, Clinton Devon Estates has joined forces with Forest Fuels Ltd of Shebbear to create a supply of wood chip to fuel a biomass boiler for the new Crocodile Swamp exhibit at Paignton Zoo. The boiler will use 50 to 70 tonnes of wood chip each year, heating the air in the habitat to 22C and the pool water to 25C. Although the burning of the sustainable wood chips will create carbon dioxide, the CO2 absorbed by the growth of the trees means that the process is carbon neutral.
Clinton Devon Estates has invested £45k in a new depot at Dotton, near Newton Poppleford to ensure an efficient supply chain for the fuel. The conversion of an old farm building was supported by the Defra Bio Energy Infrastructure grant scheme. Initially the depot supplied Clinton's own woodfuel heating systems, now Paignton Zoo has become the first commercial customer.
John Wilding, Clinton's Forestry Manager says:"We have created a strategic reserve of woodchip which we hope will provide a catalyst for the growth of this sustainable fuel market. The fact that we can supply on this scale and that fuel is readily available into the foreseeable future should give a great deal of confidence to anyone looking for a green heating source for a large property."
The woodchip comes from the lowest quality timber and would previously have been transported to North Devon or North Wales to be made into chipboard. Now it is being processed within ten miles of where the trees were grown. The wood is dried before being chipped and stored ready for use.
The zoo deal has come through Forest Fuels, the South West's leading wood fuel supply company. It was founded in 2000 and now supplies a range of clients including the MOD, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Eden Project and local authorities around the region. The company generates more than 3,000 tonnes of woodfuel per year and supplies it to the correct specifications for all models of commercial woodfuel boilers.
David Rickwood, Forest Fuels Operations Manager, is delighted that Clinton Devon Estates has made such a firm commitment to the woodfuel market. He says: "While many companies, organisations and individuals are attracted by the green credentials of wood fuel, potential clients need to be reassured that there is an ongoing and reliable source of this sustainable fuel.
"Clinton's investment in infrastructure to supply this growing market has helped to reinforce our message that using woodfuel is not only a sound environmental choice but that it also makes sense in practical and financial terms. We believe it will become an even more attractive option as we all strive to meet local and national renewable energy targets in the years to come."
Clinton Devon Estates has 1,900 hectares of woodland in North and East Devon made up of a mixture of commercial conifers and native broadleaved species. It's estimated that the estates' woodlands absorb 6,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere each year. Clinton was one of the first estates to receive international recognition from the Forestry Stewardship Council with UK Woodland Assurance Standard certification.
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